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Collard Greens from Rodney Scott’s BBQ

November 2023
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4 Tbs. (2 oz.) unsalted butter 
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 lbs. collard greens, washed, trimmed, leaves stacked and rolled, and cut into one-inch-wide ribbons 
1 smoked ham hock 
2½ tsp. kosher salt, Diamond Crystal preferred
1½ Tbs. sugar 
2 Tbs. Rodney’s Sauce (recipe follows or purchase in the restaurant)

Rodney’s Sauce (Yields 4 cups)
4 cups distilled white vinegar 
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced 
2 Tbs. ground black pepper 
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper 
1½ Tbs. red pepper flakes 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 


In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, five to 10 minutes. 

Add the collard greens and stir until slightly wilted. If all the greens don’t fit, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and allow the greens to wilt and reduce in volume before adding another handful or two. Repeat as necessary until all of the greens are in the pot. 

Add the smoked ham hock and six cups of water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the greens are fork-tender, about one and a half hours. Stir in the salt, sugar, and Rodney’s Sauce and serve.

Rodney’s Sauce:
Rodney Scott’s BBQ uses this sauce to “mop” its pit-cooked meats but also in recipes like collard greens, where it can take the place of pepper vinegar that you might use in traditional long-cooked greens. 

In a small stockpot, warm the vinegar over medium-high heat. After about five minutes, when the vinegar reaches 150°F on an instant-read thermometer and just before it starts to simmer, add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemon peels begin to soften and wilt, about 10 minutes more. 

Whisk in the black pepper, cayenne, pepper flakes, and sugar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce reaches 190°F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool before using.

Pro Tip: 
Make the full recipe for Rodney’s Sauce. It is a versatile all-purpose sauce for many dishes and makes a great finishing sauce as well. Once the lemon is removed, the sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to eight weeks.